Due to the tough budgetary climate, board members are increasingly interested in the financial health of the institution. In 2014, a majority of board members at both public and private institutions identified fiscal sustainability and affordability as their top two priorities, and board support staff report a related increase in financial reporting requests from board members.
What is the right financial information to share with boards?
Communicating meaningful financial information to boards, however, is a tricky balancing act. Too little information can cause board members to misinterpret the institution’s true financial position or distrust administrative leaders, while too much financial information can cause them to focus on less significant details or disengage due to data fatigue.
This resource is part of the Build Financial Dashboards to Communicate with Boards and Other Stakeholders Roadmap. Access the Roadmap for stepwise guidance with additional tools and research.
The Effect of Information Quantity on Board Engagement
Too Little Information
- Under-informed board members likely to misunderstand institution’s financial profile or disengage from their responsibilities as financial stewards
Too Much Information
- Board members with access to all of an institution’s financial information waste valuable time micromanaging institutional finances or disengage from data fatigue.
Dashboards help leaders communicate
Learn about the filtering process to identify administrative unit measures and strategies for triggering actionDownload the Study
Fortunately, financial dashboards offer an established and accessible solution to higher education’s financial communication and financial health challenges. Financial dashboards can have the most impact by leveraging three tactics.
However, there are challenges in communicating meaningful financial information to boards. For senior leaders, determining how much financial information to share can be a tricky balancing act. Communicating too little information can cause board members to misinterpret the institution’s true financial position or question if administrative leaders are “hiding the ball.”
Resources on building financial dashboards
In 2014, a majority of board members at public and private institutions identified fiscal sustainability and affordability as their top two priorities. This study examines eight considerations and best-practice tools that will help you develop financial dashboards that offer peer-tested solutions to your communication challenges.
Finance and administration leaders are tracking more data than ever before, but many struggle to use it to inflect performance. In turn, some leaders are turning to management dashboards to better organize metrics. Dashboards are a proven tool that other industries, such as retail and finance, have long used to manage, track, and analyze data to inform decision-making.